By Priyanka Zacharias | International Partnerships Manager
Oscar (name changed to protect identity) came to Retrak after experiencing life threatening situations on the streets of Kampala. He found a caring home at Retrak’s drop-in centre (Lighthouse). The dedication and care of Retrak's project workers and his peers helped him to work through traumatic memories of street life and focus on shaping his future. As soon as Oscar showed signs of improvement during the counselling sessions and group activities, he was supported to make a decision about what to do next given his age and what lay ahead. He agreed to learn a skill in wielding and metal manufacturing. During his vocational training, which lasted four months, Retrak supported him with food, shelter, medical care and counselling. At the same time, he was prepared for independent living in the community.
Oscar was fully employed by his trainer and occasionally received support from Retrak when needed, such as rental deposits, health checks, tools and food. This was to help transition him into independent living.
Oscar has proven to be a focused and determined young man. He told the staff: “I can’t imagine where I am now compared with two years back when food and shelter were my priority concerns. Today I can afford to eat what I choose and have a rented room for my home. Retrak you mean the world to me for without you I would not have had a chance to live again”. He continues narrating his future plans: “I want independence and I want to set up my own work station complete with equipment and probably also employ somebody. I have set myself a target to have this dream realised and I am fully committed to it” he asserts as he thinks big. He also told staff that he’s halfway through his savings target of 2 million shilling (approx. £400/$520), which he saves in the form of mobile credit.
Oscar’s story and our experience time and time again highlights the huge potential that boys like Oscar have. When Retrak meets them on the street, they are in survival mode and have lost confidence in their ability to contribute to society in any positive way. Addressing the trauma they have been through and supporting them at the lighthouse starts their journey to fulfilling their potential. We cannot do this without your support – thank you for giving boys like Oscar a future!
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